Consider University Safety During Thanksgiving Break

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Photo by Aria Steffan

Written by Bethany Spitzmiller, Managing Editor

  With the heightened stress of the semester and pandemic fatigue, students definitely need Thanksgiving break to relax. However, everyone must keep in mind that there is a global pandemic and the safety of ourselves and others must come first. According to the Associated Press, COVID-19 cases around the world are spiking again, including in the U.S. Earlier this week, the United States surpassed 10 million cases – just ten days after hitting 9 million.

  If students are traveling home for Thanksgiving, they must consider the environment they’re bringing home to their families. They must also consider what they might be bringing back to campus. The decision to go home is individual to each student, but if they do decide to return, they must be prepared to quarantine if necessary. 

  The Federal Emergency Management Agency and U.S. Department of Health & Human Services regional offices in Kansas City recently shared their “Be COVID Prepared” Toolkit, which includes three key principles: Prevent. Prepared. Be Informed. 

  Preventing COVID-19 has had the same rules apply for months. Remember to wear a mask, wash your hands and stay six feet apart. Those rules apply no matter where you are or who you’re with. Sometimes your family is just gross. Think about it. Mom. Dad. Ew. Love ya, but gross.

  Preparation requires thinking in a different way. It requires planning ahead in case you suddenly have to isolate or quarantine. Creating an emergency plan is an important step to being prepared. Consider where you could quarantine if you need to. Do you have an apartment or dorm room to yourself or would you need to go home? Do you have transportation to get there if you have to relocate? If you’ve tested positive, public transportation is not a good idea.

  Then, what would you pack? When creating a COVID-19 preparedness kit, it’s important to include enough supplies to last 10-14 days. 

  • Food (depending on where you are, campus dining and take-out could be options) 
  • Bottled Water
  • Prescription/Over-the-counter medicines (pain relievers, allergy medicine)
  • Toiletries (shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, washcloth, towels)
  • COVID-19 supplies (masks, hand sanitizer, digital thermometer)
  • Towels, pillows, extra bedding
  • Phone and laptop chargers
  • School supplies/Coursework
  • Comfort items

  An aspect people forget to plan for is comfort and communication. Designate at least two people who will check in with you daily during isolation or quarantine. Mental health is always important, but can be especially difficult to handle alone.

  Being informed includes staying up to date on COVID-19 information and updating your plan as necessary. UCM has a process to follow if you test positive or have been exposed to someone who is positive, and knowing that is important to keeping the university safe.

  Have fun and enjoy break, but remember to stay cautious and sanitized.